It's probably best to begin this preview with a short disclaimer. We have not yet got our hands on Resident Evil 4. We have instead been granted a 17-minute gameplay video which has given us a good look at the game before its release later this month. While we've got a fairly strong impression, we can't speak about how combat feels or the suspense you get from playing, as we simply haven't yet had that privilege.
With that out of the way, let's dive into the Resident Evil 4 Remake, the latest in Capcom's series of modern touch-ups to the classic horror franchise. Resident Evil 4 is arguably the most anticipated game in the series to get the remake treatment, and in the gameplay we've seen so far, it looks as though Capcom is certainly living up to the hype.
In our preview, we got a look at various locations from Resident Evil 4's Chapter Four, beginning with some combat and exploration near the lake, before attacking the castle where we find Ramón Salazar, and then finally ending with the fight against Jack Krauser. Throughout the gameplay, we get to see all the ways in which Capcom has modernised Resident Evil 4's remake to be the AAA horror experience it needs to be to stand out in today's market.
It probably goes without saying that the Resident Evil 4 Remake looks better than the original 2005 game, but it's still worth pointing out just how much better this new game looks. In the character models, lighting, and visual effects like explosions especially, Resident Evil 4 Remake stands out even among its modern horror counterparts as a visually pleasing game, giving that extra sense of terror as the monsters pursuing you look more realistic than ever.
Beyond the updated visuals, there are a tonne of extra gameplay changes coming in the Resident Evil 4 Remake. Parrying, for example, is a huge part of the combat now, and while you can just lean back and shoot your enemies from afar, getting up close can easily save you some ammo. The parry mechanic allows you to block everything from a parasite attack to the Garrador's giant claws. Timing is key here, but if you can pull it off it seems parrying can create some very cool moments, such as when we saw Leon parry a Molotov cocktail in mid-air.
There are also more familiar features given slight updates in the Resident Evil 4 Remake, as shown by the way you can systematically take out your enemies by stunning them with headshots or dropping them to the floor by shooting out their legs. Both of these options allow you to get free melee attacks in on your opponents, which seems to be a focus this time around, as it's a quick way to dispatch enemies. From stabbing someone through the jugular to suplexing a cultist like you're playing WWE 2K22, there are a lot of options for getting up close and personal with your foes. The benefits to being proficient with parrying and in melee came in handy later against Jack Krauser. Instead of a QTE sequence, you'll now get to fight Krauser actively, and will need to parry his knife attacks.
Escorting Ashley also seems to be much less of a hassle in the Resident Evil 4 Remake. While you will have to make sure she isn't carried off by cultists, the extra focus on stealth in the game means you're not always running, gunning, and keeping track of Ashley. The "tight" and "loose" commands from the original also help, as they again ensure Ashley doesn't get caught up in a fight or that she wanders too far away. Ashley seems pretty tanky now too, as it took a projectile launched from a catapult to incapacitate her.
Overall, while we can't comment on the feel of the gameplay, nor its performance, from the looks of it, Resident Evil 4 Remake is shaping up to be perhaps Capcom's most successful remake in the horror franchise yet. It seems enough has been done to build upon the original experience without taking away from what made gamers fall in love with it in the first place. But, as we've said, perhaps take this preview with a slight pinch of salt, knowing we've only looked at the game, and haven't yet got our hands on it.